Merry Christmas!

Christmas is almost here!  It is rainy and stormy and predicted to be over 70 degrees for Christmas.  I can’t complain about the temp…that’s just right for me.  So many have said that it just doesn’t “feel” like Christmas.  I wonder what Christmas really does feel like.  I am not thinking that the manger had snow.  I am not thinking that Mary and Joseph went out and built a snowman while baby Jesus slept in the hay.  I know that because it is in December, we are expecting colder weather.  I guess what I am trying to get at is if we are looking for things to be a certain way for it to feel like Christmas, we might miss something important.  We might miss Christmas.

As I was preparing for our Christmas Eve Service, I read the song “Little Town of Bethlehem.”  It was an ordinary time for Bethlehem.  They were participating in the census…things were going along as they normally would during this time.  I am guessing that things were fairly “predictable.”  Mary and Joseph have come for the census and they didn’t have a place to stay.  Based on their social status, I am thinking they were probably not surprised by that.  I am guessing they weren’t really expecting any place to stay.  It wasn’t like they could call ahead for reservations and even if they could, they couldn’t afford the increased rates during a “peak season.”  It was all so ordinary…and yet extraordinary at the same time.  Mary, a pregnant woman, had a baby.  That happens every day.  I’m thinking there were other babies born during this trip in Bethlehem.  Mary, though, wasn’t just having ANY baby…she was having THE baby.  It was an ordinary night, an ordinary birth, an ordinary situation…but something extraordinary was happening.  Jesus was born into the world.  What about the others who were around?  What about the people that actually got rooms where they were staying in the stable?  What about those who passed by and saw that this couple had a new baby?  Was he just a cute addition?  Did they even notice?  Was it so hectic that they just kept moving along?  Was he crying so much that they found him an annoyance?  Did all of those around MISS IT?  Did they miss the birth of a Savior?

Too many times, I find that I am in the room next door.  I am close to Christ…but I find myself so busy that I haven’t even noticed.  Christmas is almost here…will I stop and look around long enough to notice that Christ has come…that he is at work…that he is among us?  May I not be annoyed by the baby crying…by the noises at the stable…or too busy to stop and gaze…  May I stop, kneel and worship… Christ has come.  Merry Christmas!

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